Local Fundraiser for My Son’s Friend

Posted by on Dec 7, 2018 in Blog, Uncategorised | 0 comments

Usually we do not mix work and family issues.  But this one is important to a local family who have had their life turned upside-down.  My son’s friend, Spike, he’s known since Primary school.  A couple years ago they were roommates when they went on a school trip to Salamanca.  Worried about who he was going to be staying with, he assured me that Spike was a super nice kid- “Yeah, mum, he’s super nice.”  As 16 year old’s, they sometimes walk to their 6th Form College, BHASVIC, together.  Just over a week ago, on a rainy morning at around 8:15am, Spike was hit by a car while walking to class.  He was flown to Southampton and  is in an induced coma with a severe head trauma.  Spike has two sisters and his parents are with him, too.  At a time when we are worrying about whether we are putting up our Christmas tree too early or too late, his family are willing their son better.  Years ago I treated a woman whose child was hours from home being treated for cancer.  She spoke about the financial hardship of not being able to work but also about how life just stopped for them.  She told me how she would look out the hospital window and watch people taking their kids to school and thought, “I used to do that”.  I will always remember the sadness and isolation in her eyes when she shared that with me.  I do not know Spike’s parents.  I know who they are because we’ve done the same school run for many years and we live in the same neighborhood.  But my thoughts are with them every day and my heart breaks thinking of what they are going through.  And, if the Brighton community can ease their financial difficulty as the cost of staying with Spike in Southampton, I know they would be grateful.  Most of the donations to them have been in small increments as many have been donated by children who are donating their pocket money.  My son has worked a part-time job for years and came to me with £100 of rolled up notes to donate.  If you can, please give.  And send a healing thought to Spike. (GoFundMe for Spike)

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MDMA for Trauma

Posted by on Nov 20, 2018 in Blog, Uncategorised | 0 comments

I’ve spoken about this for many months with colleagues who are in full support of the legalisation of MDMA for a number of conditions.  It’s about time we look beyond the politics and start prescribing effective treatments.

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Unplugging From the News

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 in Blog, Uncategorised | 0 comments

My first degree was in Political Science so I’ve habitually followed politics both here and abroad.  However, recently, I began to feel overwhelmed by the surplus of information I was taking in.  I say “surplus” because it is exactly that- unwanted, too much, and not of value.  Every spare moment I would grab my phone looking for an update of the news in search of some respite, as if reading more news was going to uncover a solution to today’s problems.  I could go on, but Awaken with JP does a fantastically funny video of exactly what I want to say.

Please watch.  I promise you won’t regret it.

The benefits I’ve experienced by turning off the news completely are:

  1. More time
  2. I’m spending better quality time with my family
  3. Much, much better sleep and as a result waking earlier and feeling invigorated which goes back to number 1- more time!
  4. My stress levels have tumbled so I feel far better able to cope with real stresses
  5. Increased energy!

Turning off the news is not about ignoring what is happening today.  My dedication to being an educated, political participant in our society has not waned.  However, by becoming a seeker and not a receiver, I approach the topics with a calm curiosity and not fear.

Give a news block a try.  You’ll likely feel the results within a day.

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Be Big

Posted by on Jan 3, 2018 in Blog, Uncategorised | 0 comments

One of my favourite TED Talks was given by Amy Cuddy several years ago.  I’ve watched it many times and always find it inspiring, funny and informative.  The reason I post it again is because just after New Year people are making goals of getting healthy.  Making ourselves “big” through posture actually helps us react to stress.  This is a 2 minute fix.  As you watch it, listen to the numbers in her studies- they’re incredible.  Enjoy!


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Tea to Improve Vision

Posted by on Jul 18, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Tea to Improve Vision


Tea to Improve Vision

Here is a simple tea to improve vision if your computer time gives you eye strain or blurred vision.

Chrysanthemum tea is a common drink in China and has been recognised historically to prevent aging if taken over a long period of time. The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing says, “taken over a long time it facilitates the qi and blood, lightens the body and prevents aging.”  Ideally, the white flowers have more flavanoids however they can be difficult to find.  Canton Tea does have purple chrysanthemum which will do just fine.  When combined with other ingredients, you can focus it’s benefit.  By adding goji berries the tea benefits the eyes especially when eye strain has occurred.  As well as improving vision, it also prevents dizziness.  In China, they frequently drink it with a little sugar but I find the bitter taste is rather nice.  This is a tea you can drink daily.  Just add a few flowers and a few goji berries and pour over boiling water.  Enjoy!

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Pain Relief Patches- A Small Review

Posted by on Jun 14, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Pain Relief Patches- A Small Review


Estevao- Butter wouldn’t melt

A few weeks ago I was catapulted off my clever, quirky horse, Estevao.  Launched 6-8 feet into the air, I landed flat on my back.  Fast forward to the next morning when my muscles are aching so intensely I cannot get out of bed without assistance much to the amusement of my children. The following several days I spent working on pain relief. As an acupuncturist, I did use some needles but it’s not always easy to needle oneself especially when mobility is limited. As a herbalist, we used to have access to some great herbal patches that add both heat and herbal ingredients to the area but I didn’t have any at home and I needed something quick. Desperate for immediate relief I asked (okay- I begged) my husband to go to the local ASDA and buy anything he could find that displayed the words, “Pain Relief”. He came back with a few pain relief patches and a rub:

1: Deep Heat rub in a roller

2: Nurofen heat patches

3: Cura- heat patches.

Desperate for relief I tried them all.  Some worked, some didn’t.  So I thought I’d write up a small review in case it helps others.  But before I do I should add that a warm bath with magnesium flakes was my first choice as was sleep. Nothing helped relieve pain as much as those two.

The 3 above listed products are non-medicinal. The point of them is to add heat.  In Chinese medicine, adding heat brings blood and Qi to the area to promote healing.  Also, according to Chinese medicine principles, when Qi isn’t flowing, pain ensues.  Heat also has the property of moving Qi thus relieving pain.  It’s why in practice I may choose to use moxibustion or  a heat lamp.

Although I had fallen recently, I did not have any inflammation from injury such as spinal disc or tendon injury.  If I had, I would have gone to the doctor and considered adding ice directly to any inflamed injury point for 5 minutes and then altered it with heat for 5 minutes.  In my youth I trained and fell off many horses so I was pretty familiar with this type of pain and was confident I was not insured.  Still, I also contacted my co-worker and osteopath, James Adatia, for advice and scheduled an appointment.

So, here we go:

The deep heat rub didn’t work for me. I found no relief in it at all. It felt cold putting on because of the alcohol and when it did heat up, I personally felt it was irritating not soothing.  If I had been able to get out of bed on my own, I would have washed it off.  I didn’t use it twice.  It costs about £4.60 for 100ml although it does come in smaller sizes.

Nurofen patches state that they last up to 8 hours- which they did although it petered out in the end.  Still, there was heat and it was never too hot.  It had good stick and I liked how they made some for neck and shoulder that shaped around the shoulders. They worked adequately and I think if someone had mild ache or tension it might be a good choice. For my level of pain, it did very little. However, it stayed in place and yet wasn’t horribly painful to remove.  Two large patches cost about £5.

Cura- Heat patches were great. The heat lasted more than 24 hours and was quite intense. At one point, I even removed it in the night for awhile worrying it was too hot (be warned especially if someone is older and has thin skin!). The stickiness wasn’t the greatest but since I had so many options on where to put it being my whole body was sore I was able to place it on my sacrum and let my clothes hold it in place.  However, if you were using on, lets say, a shoulder, losing stickiness could be very annoying.   The other downside, it is a bit bulky and bulkier than the Nurofen patches. So, again, if on the shoulder- you’d have a hump.  No big deal for me but others might not like that so much.  That aside, I would definitely go with these patches as my first choice.  For about £8 you get 5 more patches then you get in Nurofen’s £5 pack and the heat lasts 3x as long for each patch.  This is definitely the best buy.

A few herbalist colleagues had commented about Belladonna Plasters.  Unlike the above plasters, these are medicinal and have alkaloids in them that relieve pain.  My herbal colleagues have reported good results so I purchased these later on when I had a few pain points lingering.  It states that these are for muscle and joint pain.  The reviews on these are quite impressive and I had very high hopes but, unfortunately, I didn’t find they helped.  They do not create any heat (although the site says they should) so you are really just depending on the medicinal aspect.  From a Chinese medicine perspective, heat is very helpful.  But my biggest disappointment was that the stickiness was so intense I felt like it was going to rip my skin off when I tried to remove it.  And it left glue on my back.  However, they come in a large patch and you can easily cut them down to whatever size you want.  So maybe cutting them into strips will reduce the pain when removing them.  I may give them another try…

On a final note, I did go to see my amazing osteopath, James Adatia, to make sure I wasn’t truly injured (I wasn’t- thanks, James!) and came to the conclusion that if I am going to get occasionally launched off horses I need to be both flexible and strong to recover.

My final phase of pain relief is restarting my yoga practice.  Now I just have to not fall off again.



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